AARP: Hiring Older Workers Makes Financial Sense

December 21, 2005 ( - Hiring managers only have to shell out as much as 3% extra to attract key 50+-year-old employees, but are likely to get an unusually well-motivated worker in return.

That was the conclusion of a new Towers Perrin research report prepared for AARP that set out to examine traditional fears that hiring older workers would be significantly more expensive than bringing on their younger counterparts, according to an AARP news release.

The AARP/Towers Perrin analysis said that the extra per-employee total compensation cost of retaining or attracting more 50+ workers ranges from negligible to 3% in key industries. At the same time, the research found that older workers are more motivated to exceed expectations on the job than younger workers.

“These findings are especially important because the workforce is aging, labor shortages are projected in a number of sectors, and many employees intend to continue to work beyond the retirement age,” said AARP CEO Bill Novelli in the news release. “”Keeping people in the workforce longer benefits the employee, the employer and society as a whole.”.

AARP commissioned the study to assess the strength of the business case for investing an employer’s resources to retain and attract workers 50+, according to the news release. Towers Perrin developed the analysis based on a review of proprietary Towers Perrin sources, AARP research, and public sources, as well as other third party sources. These included demographic data, benefit program data on over 700 companies, and research with workers and employers, the announcement said.

The report highlights four industries – energy, financial services, health care and retail, the news release said.

Other conclusions of the report include:

  • Offsetting any added expense in hiring older workers are turnover-related costs of replacing veteran employees with deep institutional knowledge and job-related know-how, and the time it takes to select and train new workers.
  • In the case of hiring older workers, average age-based total compensation cost differences are negligible and hover around 1% per year for the four positions examined.
  • Fifty-plus workers are more motivated to exceed expectations on the job than their younger counterparts, based on new analysis of data collected in a 2003 Towers Perrin study of more than 35,000 employees.
  • Without exception, the 10 major employers interviewed for the study said that age 50+ workers have experience and other desirable traits that translate into a plus for their businesses.